Pregnant Days

Week 25: An ode to all the Mammies out there

It’s mother’s day and hopefully this time next year we will be Mammies… that’s going to be an expensive day for the little one… oh well!

This mother’s day I reflect on my mother, a woman that lit a fag and puffed on it with every contraction. Her generation treated us babies as robust warriors. There was no such thing as a car seat then,

“Sure we popped you in the Moses basket in the back seat. Your father had a pint or two to celebrate and then we drove home.. smoking.” You’d be hung if you did that today.

Then there was the laissez faire attitude to safety, “You fell down the stairs in your roller and the screams out of you. But when we ran (I very much doubt they ran) out to you you were grand.” What the fuck was I doing at the top of the stairs in a roller by myself anyhow?

This was a time pre wet wipe. A month old piece of tissue retrieved from the caves of your mother’s coat and then the big spit to lubricate it so that she could “clean” your dirty face. The horror.

On this mother’s day I am grateful that I am still alive. But even though I disagree with pretty much everything they did, there is an independent ethos that they enforced on me… maybe it was just laziness. Anyhow, they allowed me to explore and push the limits. I got hurt but I survived and I’m envious of that trust women at that time had in their kid’s ability. I really hope I can let mine be free instead of fretting over their every move.

Pregnant Days

Week 24: The Linea Nigra & Stinky Feet

“What the fuck is this?” Said herself as she examined her belly in front of the mirror.
“According to Google it’s a linea nigra… sounds very exotic.” I said as I scrolled through my phone in bed.
“I look like a fucking badger.”
“To be honest you smell like one too.”
I’ve a great knack of not editing my thoughts.
“What did you just say?” I could apologise and push off what I said as a joke but it’s no joke… she stinks.
“Babe, great relationships are built on honesty… just remember that.” She clenched her teeth.
“Go on.”
“It’s your feet! They have some whiff… is that the baby’s fault?”
“I thought that smell was you?”
She looked terrified now.
“It’s definitely you.” And then she started to cry.
“I’ve had enough of this! I’m mouldy feet and a landing strip over my fat belly.”
“It’s OK love, we can buy you some nice sandals.”
She sobbed louder.
“I’m not me!” And then I said the line that everyone says that either can’t remember pregnancy or never has been, “ah well, it will all be worth it in the end.” That comment got a well deserved thump.

Pregnant Days

Week 21: A Passive Aggressive Mummies Group

My brother needed me to look after his youngest, a seven month old boy called Bobby. I stupidly let slip that I was taking some holiday time as I had to use up the days.

“Oh that’s great, you can mind Délámhach for at least a day.”
“I don’t think so.”
“Come on, Marie needs a break from the kids.”
“That’s not my problem!”
“Listen, you need the practise… you’ll thank me. I’ll drop him by at 7am tomorrow.” And then the prick hung up. Why do older siblings always think they can get their way?

Herself agreed with my brother that it was a great idea despite my fuming.
“I wanted to sleep till 11am and watch Netflix all day.”
“I think this will be great for you and Marie really deserves some time to herself.”
“So I’ve virtually exchanged my holiday time with Marie.”
“Come on Birdie, your Délámhach’s Godmother.”
“I can’t even pronounce his bloody name,” I huffed as I kicked the couch on the way to the bedroom to sulk.

The next day Délámhach arrived with ten different bags of stuff. My brother shoved the baby in my hands and hurled the bags into the hallway.
“WTF John?”
“How many times do I have to tell you that I’m Seán now. Just keep to his schedule.” He forced paper in my hand like your uncle forced money in your hand when you were a kid when your parents weren’t looking.
“The baby is worse than Mariah Carey.” But Johnn (yeah JOHN if you’re reading this fuck you and your faux upper middle class Irishness) didn’t hear my hilarious joke as he sped away with the other two children to school.

Breakfast was a shit show, he got more yoghurt on his face then in his tummy. Then herself joined the fray and calm as you like, she fed him effortlessly.
“Who’s a good boy!” I looked at them both with contempt.
“He’s doing that on purpose, showing me up.”
“Oh come on Birdie, he’s just a baby… ain’t that right,” she turned to smile at him and he smiled back confirming to her that he is a baby.
“Can you call in sick?”
“No, I can’t! Listen Birdie you need to grow up! He’s so adorable, just go to the coffee shop with him for a little while.”

When we got to the coffee shop every other person said how gorgeous Délámhach is, which he is, he’s got dark French features that are very exotic in pale Ireland. They all thought I was the mother and I didn’t correct them. I enjoyed the fame and Délámhach to his credit played along with my ploy as he lurched for my breast on several occasions.

“Oh hungry boy,” remarked one mother, then to my horror she said, “we’re part of a Mummies group, we’re just sat over there. Come, join us.” And I fecking did too. I felt like your one from the Hand that Rocks the Cradle. After I gave them a fake name for me and Délámhach I settled into nodding, smiling and listening.

“Mummy had a fight last night with Daddy, ain’t that right Lucy?” Baby Lucy just drooled at her Mummy.
“Well this Mommy is looking into divorce solicitors, ain’t that right Harry?” Baby Harry just devoured his carrot stick like it was a piece of prey.
“Jessica, tell everyone how Daddy thinks Mum has a drinking problem because I have the audacity to make his dinner everyday and drink some wine whilst doing it.” Baby Jessica stared at me and then let out a fart.

On and on it went like that. Mothers talking through their babies about their marital and addiction issues. I just stayed mute and eventually made my excuses to leave when they sensed I had not spoken through Bobby (his fake name) yet. Is this what awaits me?

Pregnant Days

Week 20: Vaginal Discharge & Perfumed Sanitary Towels

It’s time to talk about vaginal discharge. If this topic “totally grosses” you out then all I can say is “catch yourself on” in my best Jim McDonald voice. All women get it to some extent. But, pregnant women bring vaginal discharge to a whole new level. If vaginal discharge were a sport they would be Olympians.

Their body is going doolally with hormone changes especially the vagina. The NHS puts it better than I can, “during pregnancy the cervix (neck of the womb) and vaginal walls get softer, and discharge increases to help prevent any infections traveling up from the vagina to the womb.”

Herself is embarrassed by this new change.
“My feckin’ knickers are ruined. I can’t go on like this… maybe I can get signed off from work and just draw the curtains.”
“No doctor will sign you off for twenty weeks because of vaginal discharge.”
“Well they should!”

Defeated she bought a pack of sanitary towels yet she made the huge mistake of getting perfumed pads.

Fanny pad companies aka sanitary towel multinationals have managed to create the most disgusting perfume to mask a vagina’s odour. I’m sure it’s called Eau du we hate vaginas oh la la. If people didn’t know you were discharging like a waterfall then they sure as feck know once they get a bang of that nasty cheap chemical perfume.

If you wash daily then I don’t understand the need for a perfumed pad. I get the need for a pad because things can get uncomfortable down there (if you’ve never been pregnant or are a man then your mind will be blown at how much a vagina can produce… it’s like pissing your pants).

I realise that I am talking about perfumed pads and vaginal discharge ad nauseum because it really bothers me the message it gives out. A woman’s natural smell is somehow bad yet why don’t these companies make perfumed envelope type pads for a penis and scrotum… unless it smells of spring flowers down there all the time? I’ve no idea, I’m a lezzer after all.


Pregnant Days

Week 19: This Women’s Magazine HATES Women

Herself has started to breathe like Darth Vader. At first I thought the dog was sick but when I looked for him he was outside. It was just herself in the kitchen reading her magazine and drinking tea whilst breathing heavily.

“Have you got a chest infection love?”
She looked up at me. The title emblazoned on the cover of the magazine that she was reading said THE 20 MOST BEAUTIFUL CELEBRITIES OF ALL TIME THAT LOOK AMAZING PREGNANT.” It’s interesting how the adjective to describe pregnant women changes from hot to beautiful, can’t have people thinking pregnant women have sex. The media wants them to puritanical wholesome baby vessels.
“You just seem a bit chesty, I want to make sure you’re alright.”
“The baby is squatting on my lungs you idiot.”
And on your happy thoughts too apparently. I decided to change the topic.
“You hate this stuff.”
“Come on, humour me!”
“OK, but you can’t interrupt me until I say I’m finished reading, OK?”

She took another deep breath and flipped the page. She really sounds like a dirty feck listening to porn on the phone whilst fondling herself. Then she spoke in her reading voice*, “Pregnancy did wonders for Nicole’s skeletal frame — we wonder if bringing new life into the world may have saved her own life. She certainly seems a lot happier these days.” In other words if you’ve issues with your mental health just get pregnant and you will be saved from yourself.

“Pregnancy was just what hard-edged Gwen Stefani needed to soften up a bit. It takes quite the glamorous woman to pull off a moo-moo-esque maternity dress like this one.” In other words if you’re not pregnant you’re a cold vapid woman.

“Some fashion models might be a little put off by early weight gain during pregnancy, but Alessandra seemed to be loving it, which only made her look that much more beautiful.” I looked at the photo of pencil thin Alessandra and realised that this magazine hates women.

“OK, I’m finished reading. God I’m so ugly and huge,” she sighed. I looked at my normal shaped, gorgeous partner and shook my head.
“These toxic publications are insidious slime that pit women against each other.”
“I know, I know… my clothes don’t fit me, even my bloody tracksuit bottoms. I just feel like my body isn’t mine anymore.”
Instead of telling her that she was stating the bloody obvious, I did the next best thing.
“If you promise me that you will never buy trash like that again I will give you my card to go clothes shopping with your sister today.”
“I promise I will never buy them again” She snatched my card from my hand and made for the car.

*We all have a reading voice. It’s like you’re giving a reading in a church, proper speech like.

Pregnant Days

Week 18: Birth Anxiety + Does GentleBirth work?


Herself has been struck down with round ligament pain but she has to struggle on, bills to pay etc. Being pregnant just seems like a constant war with your body. A dark line has started to appear on herself’s tummy which has her freaking out that it will never go away. Personally I’d be more freaked out about pushing a baby’s head out my vagina but I always keep that opinion to myself as she’s getting antsy about the baby’s birth too.

“I think we should watch One Born Every Minute to prepare ourselves for the big day.”
“Sounds like a great plan babe.”

We set aside all of Saturday to watch several seasons of One Born Every Minute. We both sat there with our pens and notepads, poised to be model students. We would of preferred to watch a Christmas film whilst scoffing chocolates but alas. With hindsight we had no idea what Pandora’s box of anxiety that show would take us on.

The feisty Liverpudlian permanently tanned midwives coaxed out too many babies with their no nonsense attitude.
“I can’t do it!” Screams too many women in pretty much every episode as they writhe in agony.
“Yes you can,” says the Liverpudlian midwife sternly. Cue close up of head crowning which prompted us to cross our legs. I assumed that because I am a woman I would understand her labour needs more but I don’t have a clue just like the majority of the men in the show.

She turned off the TV. Her face had drained of colour as had mine. Privately I was so happy that she had to go through this.
“I can’t do that Birdie.”
“But you have to babe.”
“I’m having palpitations here at the thought… God I feel I’m going to shit myself with the fear.”
“I read somewhere that it’s not uncommon to shit yourself in labour.” I added unhelpfully as her face betrayed.
“Maybe I can get knocked out?” I held back from telling her that back in the day some women were given alcohol intravenously to aid the labour process – MENTAL.
“I don’t think so… maybe text Siobhan or your sister?” She nodded and texted furiously. I was shocked that I gave a good suggestion for once.

10 seconds later her phone started beeping. She started reading the texts.
GentleBirth, she mumbled as she continued to read.
“Well we’d all like that but it’s a contradiction. It’s like me saying I’m an occasional alcoholic.”
“The girls swear by it.”
She downloaded the app and has been listening to the guidance daily. To be fair I was proved wrong. Herself has gone from someone that dreaded childbirth to a woman that is confidant in what her body is capable of doing. A strong calmness has descended upon her. It’s pretty awesome to witness and has made me very proud of her.


Pregnant Days

Week 17: She’s Giving Birth to Baby Jesus

It’s Christmas day! Happy Christmas to you all! Today is the day that Christ was born to a virgin. This leads me to today’s next big revelation… What does Mary, mammy of Jesus, and herself have in common? Immaculate conception. The similarities don’t just end there. Mary’s fella was a carpenter, I took a night course in woodwork last month in Ringsend. That’s beyond coincidence, it’s providence. This brings me to the following hypothesis: our baby is the second coming of Jesus.

I broke the exciting news to herself this morning.
“What would you love more than anything for Christmas?”
“To have my old vagina back. I’m so grossed out by the amount of discharge that’s exiting it.” It’s true, it’s like a pump station on steroids but there’s no way I would ever agree with her on this new body trait.
“Try again”
“To not be in negative equity,”
she started on to her second box of breakfast chocolates.
“Well you’re in luck! I’ve found a way to make us loads of mullah for 2018.”
“Go on,” she was half listening whilst opening up a selection box.
“So religion is the best way to make mad cash.”
“Uh huh.”
“Basically, we’re going to write a bestseller then tour the world because you’re carrying baby Jesus.” She flipped the chocolate menu card over and started studying it.
“My sister is expecting us at 11am, we’ve to open up the presents with the kids.”
“Did you hear what I said?”
“Yeah and you’re mental, I’m not carrying Jesus. I’m carrying something that hasn’t allowed me to shit for 48 hours and has me secreting stuff that looks like slime.”
“Trust me on this one babe, you’re carrying Jesus.”
“You haven’t slept in 24 hours and you just lost your job so you’re panicking.” She’s right, she’s always right.

The US multinational company that I worked for decided to close down the Dublin office. They realised they can hire cheaper people somewhere elsewhere, globalisation baby. Now we’ve a little one on the way and I’m unemployed. Who the fuck lays off someone two weeks before Christmas? A dastardly corporation that thinks Ireland is part of the UK, that’s who.

Whilst it was terrifying to be sans job it was also very liberating up until yesterday. Now the fear has started to kick in hence the money making opportunity of herself having Jesus in her belly… She’ll come round to it, especially when the bank calls for the next mortgage payment.

Pregnant Days

Week 16: Gaviscon addiction + the free Super-Valu & Lidl baby bag dash

It’s a common sight to see people chug back bottles of water or soft drinks as they drive. What’s not so common is to see someone slugging back a bottle of gaviscon but that’s how herself now rolls. The car is stocked with several emergency bottles of the pink stuff just in case she runs out of petrol and suddenly finds herself in a remote field with no sign of life, at least she will have her heartburn relief.

The heartburn started in earnest about a week ago.
“I feel like I’ve just swallowed a shovel of hot coals,” gasped herself as she sat bolt upright in bed. Her sister recommended gaviscon and now there is always a bottle of it by her side. Her sister also recommended that she get a free baby gift bag from Lidl and SuperValu. For those of you that aren’t from Ireland, that basically means a pregnant woman can get a complimentary assortment of baby stuff, like nappies, from a local supermarket.

The word free has the same effect on herself as viagra does to a penis… it makes her get up very quickly in a state of giddy excitement. She put the phone down, leap to her feet and was already wrestling her coat on. The car keys jangled in her hand as she started to fasten her coat but gave up when it struggled to close over her bump.

“They’re free Birdie!”
“What’s free?”

“Baby stuff,” she started to walk towards the door.
“Come on, I need you to come with me.” I groaned quiet enough that she could not hear me. I wanted to spend my Saturday on the couch not in the car.
“How long will we be?”
“Just a hour, I promise, we’re just going to Lidl and then SuperValu.”

Five hours later we were still on the road. We had driven to every SuperValu and Lidl in Dublin… every store. The car was full of nappies, wet wipes, and many other baby things. Herself was on a freebie high.
“Please can we go home now.”
“Maybe we should go to Kildare,” she swallowed back the last of her bottle of gaviscon and threw it into the back seat. She then reached over me, opened the glove box and pulled out another bottle of gaviscon. She opened it and took a mouthful as she toyed with the sat nav.  She had now gone full scale freebie mania.
“No! We are not going to Kildare, we are going home!”
“But they’re free!” She obviously was not factoring in the refuel on her free quest.
“You’re only supposed to have one, you’re not supposed to have more.”
“Says who?”
“Says common decency.”
“Oh fuck common decency! We never get anything free in this country!” And that really was the crux of it. Regular Irish people don’t get anything free and when they do they panic that someone will take it away so they get greedy and horde. I nodded and we kept driving.

Pregnant Days

Week 16: Her breasts have gotten huge

Herself has held out as long as she could. Yesterday she succumbed to wearing a maternity bra. It’s amazing how big her breasts have got and also how quickly it has happened. It’s odd seeing your partner change like that. It’s even more bizarre when she can’t see it. She is in utter denial that her boobs have grown.

“Jaysus, did your boobs just expand overnight?” I looked at her try to button her dress.
“What the hell are you talking about? They’re the same size!” She abandoned her dress in favour of a loose top.
“You do realise that your breasts will grow during pregnancy?”
“Yes I know that but mine are the same, I still fit into my usual bra. I just got a maternity bra as my wired bra could damage my milk ducts. Look I still fit.” She took off her top and the maternity bra and whipped on her pre-pregnancy bra. She stuck out her tongue from the side of her mouth as she concentrated with gusto on tying it.
“I don’t understand what point you’re trying to prove.” She ignored me.
“Got it! See, I still fit into my bra!” Her cleavage looked like her arse had emigrated to her chest but I decided to play along with her weird game.
“You’re right, you’re breasts still look tiny.” Tiny was probably the wrong word choice.

Later that day her friend, who also is pregnant, stopped by for a cup of tea and the first sentence out of her mouth was,
“Jesus fucking Christ, your tits are huge! You look like a homely porn star.” A homely porn star? I still don’t understand that oxymoron.
“Are they really that big?” Of course I just stood there bewildered that she didn’t heed my breast alert from earlier.
“They are mega sized chick… that baby won’t go hungry anyhow!”

I’ve since learned that pregnant women will only listen to pregnant women. Only they can see their pregnant body changing and thus convey this new reality to their comrade… non pregnant people, especially partners, are not allowed to weigh in. If you are brave enough to state the bloody obvious then you run the risk of being called an insensitive feck.

Once the pregnant friend told herself that her boobs had ballooned she relaxed into her new shape. Suddenly wardrobe malfunctions had a cause, her breasts were the effect.

“Jaysus Siobhan, they are actually big,” she stood up to look at her shape in the mirror like it was the first time she ever saw it in 16 weeks.
“Sleazy gits would pay crazy euro to squeeze them… read all about it in me Twitter feed, you could probably buy a house if you were to let them squeeze them,” said Siobhan as she sipped her tea. I looked at Siobhan and thought many things all at once but decided against verbalising them. Herself just nodded at her with a face that said, Jesus Siobhan you know fecking everything, you’re so worldly. Herself then turned to me.
“You know what Birdie, that’s probably why my dress didn’t fit me this morning, don’t you think?”
“If you think so love.”
“Yeah, I think so,” she said as she dipped her kitkat into her mug of tea.


Pregnant Days

Week 15: The Dreaded Speculum

Of course a man from the 1840’s designed a speculum. The design has changed little from when he tested it on slaves. How fucked up are both those sentences?

Because this pregnancy is deemed high risk we’re in and out of the hospital like fleas in heat. We’re in love with our consultant Malachi, he’d make us turn but alas he’s gay too… I told you everyone is gay. Malachi is like a teddy bear wearing a doctors coat. He tells us repeatedly that we are not wasting his time and to come in at any stage if we have a concern.

Week 15 is when we lost our last pregnancy so herself is understandably up to ninety. I’m nervous too but I hide it, one of us has to be positive and ironically that’s me. This week she notices some spotting of blood on her knickers. We call Malachi and he tells us to come in. He scans herself, everything looks good. Then he takes out the speculum. Herself looks at me and I cross my legs.


All women can relate. You strip off your bottom half. Lie on a cold plastic table that many other arse cheeks have christened. Then you place a glorified kitchen towel over your exposed crotch. You lie there behind the curtain mortified that the doctor or nurse will notice your five week old pubic shadow that you hastily tried to shave off that morning and failed miserably as the eruptions of razor burn attest to.  

“Are you ready?” Asks the doctor. You want to shout, no I am not fucking ready to be inserted with a crude plastic tool but instead you say,

“Yes doctor.”

“OK, hitch up your legs a bit for me please.” You comply and hope that you smell of anything but vagina down there.

“God the weather is fierce cold these days.” That’s it, chat about the weather, this will totally normalise this situation.

“Oh yes, snow is due Friday apparently… OK this is going to feel a little cold.” The fucking understatement of the century. And then it’s shoved in. You gasp and try not to tell the doctor to desist from inserting something that looks  and feels like big bird’s beak made from icicles inside you.

“I know it’s a bit uncomfortable,” he says. A bit fucking uncomfortable? Here let me get a few pegs from my clothes line and pinch your ball sac simultaneously with them a few times. Then let’s have a cup of tea and chat about what constitutes as uncomfortable.


This time I’m sitting outside the curtain. I look at Malachi unwrap the clear plastic speculum and genuinely feel bad for herself but also feel very relieved. It is one ugly piece of “engineering”.

“Are you decent?” Malaky winks at me and oh how we laugh. Malachi is just so funny.

“Yes,” she says. Her voice betrays resignation. Malachi pops behind the curtains. I hear the speculum squeak like a car jack.

“I’m so sorry about this,” he says, “I read yesterday that they are redesigning it.”

“About fucking time,” we both say.

“OK, I can see some erosion at about 2 o’clock on your cervix. That’s normal. You’ve nothing to worry about.” I’m lost in thought that you can read time from a cervix.

“Thanks Malachi,” says herself as he removes the car jack and throws it away.

“One prototype is supposed to be just like inserting a tampon,” he says as he snaps his rubber gloves off.

“Wow that would be amazing,” herself says. You’re amazing I whisper to Malachi through the curtains.